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October 14, 2004
The TV cameramen stayed away from the press conference, angered by the manner in which some of them were treated by the organisers, but that couldn't take the sheen off Anil Kumble's 7 for 48 on the opening day at Chennai. Bowling with the verve and accuracy that has been his stock-in-trade since the early 1990s, Kumble engineered a remarkable turnaround that saw Australia stumble from 189 for 2 to 235 all out. Afterwards, he answered questions in a typically understated manner:
On whether he was surprised at how quickly the Australian innings folded after tea Not really. We bowled in the right areas, and we bowled a disciplined line. There was some bounce too, which kept the pressure on the batsmen. But after Bhajji's [Harbhajan Singh's] breakthroughs, we fancied our chances.
On all the wickets coming at the Pavilion end I don't think there was any spot there as such. It was just a coincidence.
On his returning to the fray fairly late in the afternoon I thought the seamers bowled well. Our strategy was to keep it tight, and both Zak [Zaheer Khan] and Irfan [Pathan] bowled well with the old ball.
On how he expects the pitch to play in the coming days It will be a bit slower, and there might be the odd rough spot to exploit. But we've got a great chance to put up a big score.
What the team were telling themselves when the score was 136 for 0 We knew we had to hang in there. It was a first-day pitch and good to bat on. But it was crucial that Bhajji picked up both openers, because [Simon] Katich and [Damien] Martyn had to play from there without having faced a ball.
Bowling in tandem with Harbhajan We're both aggressive, attacking bowlers. And it's important that the person at the other end keeps it tight. Some days, I get the wickets, some days he does.
On Australian batsmen walking without waiting for the umpire's verdict Well, even Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh] walked (smiles). But yes, it's a great thing for cricket. In this day and age when so much is said and written about the players, I think it showed the character that many have.
On whether he believed the pitch would degenerate into a dustbowl No, I think most of the dust swept away at the end came from bowlers' footmarks. This pitch had bounce, and that creates more opportunities for you. Bat-pad comes into play a lot more.
On how satisfied he was with his display The ball was coming out nicely from the hand. And it's obviously satisfying to pick up a seven-for, especially against Australia on a first-day pitch. It was important that we restrict them after we lost the toss, so I'm very happy.
On whether this will restore the morale in the dressing room It's a great chance for us to do well. It was just unfortunate that Yuvi got out just before the close of play. Usually, the second day is good for batting at Chepauk.
On which wicket he treasured most All of them (smiles).
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.